Montclair State University faculty and staff filled the Kasser Theatre on Tuesday, Sept. 5th as they gathered to hear the Opening Day Address delivered by Montclair State President Dr. Susan Cole. As soon as Cole went up to the stage, the lights in the theater dimmed and Cole began a speech that addressed everything from renovations on campus to this year’s presidential election.
“We start the year with new seeds to plant, new crops to tend,” Cole said. “Old ideas have been put away in the shed.”
Among the new and upcoming changes at Montclair State, Cole mentioned that the renovated Partridge Hall will reopen its doors this year and will now house the new School of Nursing. Partridge Hall will have lecture halls, fully mediated classrooms, formal nursing rooms, and a virtual simulation room where students can practice problem solving in certain medical situations.
Cole said the new facility for the School of Communication and Media (SCM) will open this academic year. She claimed that this new facility would be the most technologically advanced facility in all of North America and, according to Cole, certain courses in the SCM will have instruction for students provided to them by technicians from Sony in order to give the students a competitive advantage in their respective fields.
In addition to those buildings already undergoing renovation, Cole said Mallory Hall and College Hall would be the latest facilities at Montclair State to be renovated in the upcoming academic year. Cole said that the renovations at College Hall, the original building of Montclair State University, will improve student services in regards to scheduling, financial aid and completing graduation requirements.
The Montclair State student population continues to grow, with the total number of students on campus for the 2016-2017 year estimated to be at 20,500, including 3,000 freshmen and 1,500 transfer students according to Cole.
She concluded her speech by discussing how, in light of the new developments on campus, the world outside of Montclair State was not as settled as most would like it to be. Cole quoted the novel “A Tale of Two Cities”, claiming “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” when discussing the 2016 presidential campaign.
“It is a misery of a campaign, appalling on so many levels,” Cole said. “It has displayed the worst aspects of the American character to the rest of the world.”
Cole argued that, among all the issues being discussed during this presidential campaign, the issue of college education is getting lost in the shuffle. She claimed that colleges are a foundation that should be treated with integrity and not be treated as a “get rich quick scheme” at the hands of a “sleazy salesman.”
“We need someone who at the very least understands the relationship between education and freedom,” Cole stated in her closing argument.
Joe Marzullo, a member of the Facilities Department, discussed his thoughts on the speech after it ended.
“It was a great speech from a passionate speaker,” Marzullo said. “She cares for the University.”
Cindy Meneghin, the Director of Student Communications, discussed how the speech was appealed to the entire campus community.
“Dr. Cole’s speech was inspiring to all members of the campus community — students, faculty and staff,” Meneghin said. “We do occupy hallowed ground and share profound responsibility. I’m proud to be a part of it.”